Ukrinform talked to Ksenia Bozhkova, regional development advisor of the Zaporizhzhia LGDC, to discuss whether hromadas of the oblast are aware of perspective directions and whether they are ready to invest in strategy development.
- How many Zaporizhzhia Oblast’s hromadas have already defined their future and have their own strategy?
- 16 AHs have their hromada development strategies, 13 hromadas are in the process strategy preparation.
- How do AHs of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast elaborate development strategies?
- Development strategies are elaborated by hromadas themselves (on the basis of methodological recommendations), as well as with support of external experts, both on a fee and on a free-of-charge basis.
- Are the residents involved in this process?
- Involvement of AH residents in the process of strategy elaboration depends on the approach local governments use when working on the document. In the vast majority of cases, residents are involved in the strategic process, as the authorities use the partnership method.
- How not to turn the discussion of strategy into a chit-chat and take into account people's opinion?
- To do this, a strategy development process should be covered the broadest way possible at all stages and hromada residents need to be involved.
- What are the priority areas identified by hromadas for the coming years?
- Together with increase in powers, AHs receive more responsibility than non-amalgamated ones. Education, culture, healthcare, social sphere, etc. pass to AH’s responsibility. As a rule, hromadas identify from two to four strategic development goals for the nearest future.
- What awaits those who do not have a strategy?
- In Europe, no municipal projects can be implemented without a strategic document and precise compliance of the specified project with strategy.
The main advantage of hromadas that have their development strategies is that they know what they want to achieve, what resources they need, what they have to do, when and with whose support.
- What is the attitude of hromadas to such a trend as tourism?
- Most hromadas consider tourism development among prospective sectors.
- What resources do they count on, determining the strategy implementation plan?
- Forming a strategy implementation plan, hromadas, first of all, count on their own resources, on budget funds from other – oblast and state – levels; subvention funds for AH infrastructure development, SFRD, international technical assistance and other grants and donor funds. In practice, such financing possibility as crediting is not taken into account.
- How much correct is it to just order a specialist to write a document? After all, there is a risk that the “ordered” strategy may not work, since each hromada has its nuances.
- AH development strategies of the oblast were developed both by hromadas themselves and through various technical assistance programmes, when methodological support, expert analysis of data and research results, as well as strategic planning consultancy services are provided by the involved experts.
While elaborating the strategy, the management, expert approach and partnership methods are predominantly used.
Most AH development strategies of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast were elaborated using the partnership method, with a wide involvement of the public.
By Olha Zvonariova
Photo by Dmytro Smoliyenko
The interview was organised with the support of the Zaporizhzhia Local Government Development Centre, established with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme and MinRegion.
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
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